This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blogger meets blogger, and a request for help from the readers!

"Blogger meets blogger" is not a story about a romance!

It's a story about how, in spite of perceptions of many academics to the contrary, serious scientific collaborations can emerge from blogging! A bit less than two years ago, I started this blog out of frustration with writer's block on a book project, and found that I could relax, whip off a post in a fairly short time (most of the time...), and then get back to book writing. Then I found that posting was a wonderful way to learn, and document, new science day-by-day.  It became a fun part of my research life.  (At one point, I was challenging myself to find something broadly relevant to "geology in motion," that is, geological fluid dynamics, in the news every day.  After having to write one post about how the Champaign fire department responded to a mystery parcel left on the street and make it relevant to geological fluid dynamics, I gave up that angle for source material!)

In May, 2010, shortly after I started my blog, I emailed a geoblogger and professor at Durham University in the U.K. to ask if he could check a post that I had done about the landslide at Attabad, Pakistan, for accuracy and proper referencing to his work. His blog is the Landslide Blog, and he, Professor David Petley, graciously replied, and became (inadvertently, I'm sure) my mentor on blogging. And, now, nearly two years, and 138 emails later, I am sitting in an office across the hall from him to begin our collaboration on landslides and their response to constrictions. I am here thanks to a joint European Union/Durham University scheme, and am a guest of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, We will be posting the results of our work, as we go, on both of our blogs, sometimes independently and sometimes jointly. In that spirit, from here on I  simply copied from Dave's description on his blog this morning, including our request for your help:

So, after that rather long introduction, we have a request for you. In our work together we are exploring the ways in which landslides behave as they pass through constrictions – i.e. narrowing points in the channel or track. Lots of work has been undertaken on rivers as they pass through constritions, but very little about landslides. We both feel that understanding behaviour in such settings might tell us a great deal about landslide dynamics and mechanics.
So this is where you can play a role. We are trying to create a database of landslides that have passed through (or been stopped by) a constriction. By this we mean a point in which the track or channel narrows. An example is the Slumgullion landslide in Colorado, which goes through a fairly gentle constriction along track (images from my earlier post about the landslide):

Actually there is a second constriction (abeit a smaller one) further down the track as well, if you look carefully.
So, we are inviting readers to send us examples of landslides with constrictions. It can be any type of landslide in any environment, with any type of constriction (this could be natural or artificial). The key is that we are interested in places in which the track of the landslide is narrowed by the topography. Please provide examples either by emailing them to me (d.n.petley@durham.ac.uk)or me (skieffer@illinois.edu) or as a comment on this post.
Thanks – this is a really interesting science project, not least because it has come about as a result of blogging. It is even more fun to think that the examples that we use might be blog generated as well! We will of course acknowedge your help and can make the data available in due course.I

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